Tuesday, August 31, 2004
My time with S & D was very nice. S unfortunately had to work, but I got to spend some time with D which was great.
D & I got up relatively late on Thursday and headed toward a favorite eatery of S & D's called "Fresh Choice." Unfortunately it was closed down, but fortunately D had an idea of a good Tex Mex restaurant we could go to called Rio Mambo. I can't get enough of some good Tex Mex and we practically had the restaurant to ourselves.
From there we stopped by to see A at work for a few minutes, and then over to Target. D helped me find not one, but TWO purses and both were less than $5.00 each on clearance! I was thrilled, to say the least!
That evening I drove to Plano and met my nephew and his paramour, N for dinner at a place called "BD's Mongolian Barbeque." I got there early and had a frosty globe of Shiner Bock and was so very happy! Eric was in the midst of moving so both he and N were tired, so we enjoyed our meal, talked for a bit and parted ways. I was sad, but I know I'll get to spend some time with Eric at Marti's wedding! (More on that later!)
Friday found me being so groggy that it felt like I hadn't slept. I wandered in to S & D's living room and planted my happy ass on S's recliner. I proceeded to stay planted there for the morning and most of the afternoon. D was busy in the kitchen baking a cake from scratch and cooking a sumptuous meal for dinner. She paused long enough to make me a grilled cheese sandwich for lunch. I watched all of the episodes of "Starting Over" that D had graciously taped for me. (Oh how I want to have a TiVo when I grow up!!!) Please know that I asked D several times if she needed help. However D is one of those hostesses that insists that the guest does nothing. I was just groggy enough to not protest a lot. ;-) (Thanks, D for treating me like a Queen!)
S came home from work and we enjoyed the wonderful meal that D made for us. The cake was to die for!!! When dinner was done, we drove to Arlington to meet a co-worker of S's to see "The Village." (I enjoyed it!) On the way home we drove through Starbucks and got some wonderful chocolatly concoction and then headed back to the house for a "Days of Our Lives" Marathon! S and I have both been Days fans since practically the womb, and it's so much more fun to watch it with someone that you can make fun of it with!
Saturday I woke up to S & D making a wonderful breakfast. Afterward, I took a shower, packed up my car and gave big hugs to both S & D. I had such a good time with them and I miss them already.
I left S & D's and headed over to Dallas to H & K's house. They live in an old neighborhood called Oak Cliff. Most of the houses were built in the early 20th century and people have loving restored these old houses to their original beauty. H & K had not lived here long, and I couldn't wait to see their new home. As I drove up to the house I saw that it was really beautiful and was just as impressed when I got inside.
H & K had invited some friends over for dinner Saturday night, so K was already working on dinner. They were doing some yard work in the back and needed some lunch, so we zipped over to the Bishop Arts District for dinner. We ate at this wonderful South American place where the dining room sat only about 20 people. Luckily we got there at a time when we could just sit down, but H said they have waited as long as 2 hours for a table on a Saturday night.
The rest of the afternoon was spent getting ready for the evening. My assignment was to pick out music and I took this very seriously. Going through my 100 CD's that I brought to find the perfect mix. I was really pleased that everyone seemed to like my selections.
The friends began to arrive and we all enjoyed the wonderful food that H & K offered us for appetizers and the great wine they found on their recent trip to Colorado.
For dinner, K had made this sumptuous feast for us. We had a Roast with potatoes and carrots, homemade macaroni and cheese, salad, green bean casserole, crescent rolls and the list goes on and on. We sat at H & K's beautiful dining room table that was lit with candles and had a great time talking and eating.
Afterwards, we went out to the back patio and enjoyed the cooler evening. K and C smoked cigars and H and L baked brownies for everyone. It was a really nice evening.
Sunday we went to church and then went with the same friends from the dinner plus a few more for brunch at this cool dive of a diner. It was so good! After that, we took our full belly's home and indulged in a decadent Sunday afternoon nap.
Later that afternoon, we met C & L back out at the Bishop Arts District at "Ifs, Ands and Butts." This place specializes in selling sodas from the past and Cigars. They had Frostie's Rootbeer, Dad's Rootbeer, A & W, Grape, Orange and Peach Nehi, Microbrewed Root Beers and just novelty stuff that you've never seen before or thought they didn't make anymore. I just had to have a Grape Nehi and everyone else got various Root Beers. We parked ourselves across the street in front of an abandoned store front and in the shade and just shot the breeze and watched people go by. It was really nice and relaxing. We talked C & L into coming back to the house to help us eat leftovers from Saturday night and we watched a good dose of the Olympics.
Monday K had to work but H, who works from home, was able to make it a "light" day. I finally got up and moving and we went to another really cool diner that's been around forever. I had some chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and corn that made me want to slap my Momma! After that, H drove me around Oak Cliff so I could see all the beautiful houses and architecture before she dropped me off at the house while she went to run some errands. K came home and we had some good and much needed conversation. That evening, H & K did some yard work while I got ready for my trip home. H then grilled some steaks and sweet potatoes for dinner and I was in heaven.
Tuesday morning I packed up the car and headed out of town back toward ATL. I was in Texas just long enough. I didn't wear out my welcome and I wasn't dying to get back to ATL. It was just perfect. As I was driving, I recounted my trip and counted my blessings. I am so fortunate to have so many wonderful people in my life, both in Texas and out. I am so thankful for each and every person in my life.
I stopped in Jackson, MS again that evening. The next morning as I was headed out of town, I stopped for my final Whataburger until I go back to Texas for the holidays. I got into ATL around 5 and alerted everyone that I was back home. I've said it before, but I'll say it again - I may never live in Texas again, but I'll always be a Texan.
Friday, August 27, 2004
So I got to A's house Sunday evening and was greeted by a cacophony of Schnauzer barks. A has 3 of the little critters, and damn if they aren't loud!!!
A's Mom came over and we had a yummy dinner of Spaghetti that A had made with her own 2 hands. The remainder of the evening was spent talking and watching TV and then A had to go to bed. Unfortunately, she was having an endoscopy done the next morning.
The next morning I spent sitting in G's recliner and watching "Breakfast at Tiffanys." It was my first time seeing it, believe it or not. A came back from her endoscopy and promptly went back to bed. Never being one to turn down a nap, I decided to go back to bed as well.
That evening, we finally convinced G to go to Whataburger and get us some dinner. Oh how I love Whataburger and they just don't have them east of the Mississippi.
Tuesday was my day with my stepmom. I met her at her daughter's house and we had a nice afternoon sitting and chatting and watching cooking shows on the Food Network. Finally it was suggested that we go to "Joe T. Garcia's" for dinner. We loaded up in my stepmom's Lincoln Continental land barge and away we went. "Joe T.'s" (as the locals call it) is a Ft. Worth institution and must be sampled if you are ever in Ft. Worth. We got a table on the patio and had our choice of one of the 2 meals they make: Mexican Dinner and Fajitas. No pesky menus needed here! We all got the Mexican Dinner and Iced Teas and talked and people watched. It was really very nice.
I was headed back to A's house at about dusk and got back just in time to chat for a bit before A went to bed. My visit with her was way too short and unfortunately she was feeling crappy. Despite this, it was great to see her and G. I'll see them again over the holidays for sure and A assures me she'll be healthy and have time off work.
Wednesday found me loading up my car and heading to Ft. Worth. I met my old boss from high school, Tom, at his place of business. Now, Tom is more than just an old boss. Tom is my other Dad. He was such a wonderful male role model for me when me and my Dad were not getting along. I love Tom so much and send him a Father's Day card and Christmas card every year. We had not gotten to spend time with each other and talk more than a few sentences or an occasional letter in YEARS, so I was so excited to get to see him!
He took me to Angelo's Barbeque for lunch, another Ft. Worth institution that must be experienced. I had forgotten about the old place until I walked in and saw the huge stuffed bear. Not a Teddy bear, mind you, but a big ole Grizzly Bear standing on his hind legs! That thing used to scare me to death when I was a little kid and I instantly remembered that I had been here before!
The years fell away and I instantly felt connected with Tom again. In the short time we were together we both spoke from our hearts and had to work to suck the tears back into our eyes, lest we cry right there in Angelo's. When Tom finally had to go back to work, we hugged several times and I didn't think I could love Tom anymore than I already did, but by the end of our visit, I did.
That evening I was invited to dinner at the home of M & G. Now these folks have known me practically since I was born. I hadn't seen them since my Mom's Memorial Service in October of 1996, so this visit was LONG overdue. M & G looked wonderful and their house was just as I remembered it. As usual, the house smelled wonderful because both M & G are gourmet cooks.
Before too long, L, M & G's youngest daughter, showed up with her husband and 2 beautiful girls. We sat down to a wonderful dinner of boiled shrimp, potato salad, fresh corn on the cob and some lovely wine. What made the meal especially wonderful was the conversation. We caught up on each other, we talked politics, and we reminisced about the past. I looked around the table at these sweet people and realized that these folks, although not related by blood, are my family and part of who I am today. They were some of the many folks that had a hand in raising me. Man, am I fortunate, or what?
After dinner, L called me into the laundry room. There is a chalkboard in there that after ever major event that happens in M & G's house, it is documented on the chalkboard. L pointed out the last entry that her and I made together when M & G had given me a VW Bug and L was put in charge of teaching me how to drive it. On the way back to the house after my lesson, we had a wreck. There in my handwriting on this chalkboard was "L and Joan just wrecked the VW Bug" and was dated 1987. I barely heard L explaining that one of her daughter's accidentally almost erased our entry as I saw other entry's: Mom and I at their house for Thanksgiving's and Graduation's. Wow! I am a part of these people's past!!! They are a part of my past!!! Of course I have always known this, but seeing this chalkboard that I was a part of for well over 20 years just blew me away.
Later that evening, after more conversation, a phone call from M & G's oldest daughter, and pictures made by a mammoth plant my Mom gave to M, I headed back to S & D's house. I was feeling so happy and glad that I made this trip to Texas, if only for that day.
(To be continued)